UK Disability History Month is upon us and never has disability inclusion been more important – in it’s 12th Year, 2021 is from 18th November till 18th December.
It’s an annual event, which provides a platform to focus on the past and present history of disabled people’s fight for equality and human rights. Most of the significant changes to protect and support disabled people in government and policy are only very recent.
In the last decade or so, not much came before it. The Equality Act 2010 brought together multiple anti-discrimination laws and is the most recent act to protect disabled people both in the workplace and wider society – replacing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Disability history month, could very easily just pass you by without you even noticing. Why, very little will be found or seen broadcasted within the media. Local or national news outlets (TV or Radio). You won’t find anything in the national curriculum either.
Currently the Equality Act 2010 defines disability as “if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.”
Their aim has always been to:
- Celebrate our Lives as Disabled People now and in the past
- Challenge Disabilism by exploring our oppression over time and now
- Achieve Equality
The themes for 2021 are:
I for one am excited and welcome that over the next few weeks the disabled community will be celebrated in a positive way.
In the last 18 months, many of you across the world will have experienced isolation, loneliness, difficulty in accessing the basics, including the complexity of navigating the healthcare systems. As a disabled person who has been advocating for big changes over the years if I’m honest, many people got a glimpse of what life can be like as a disabled person, but for many disabled people this is our everyday life, not just in a pandemic.
Raising awareness to the challenges faced by those with hidden disabilities, many of whom choose not to publicly identify as being disabled.
It is estimated that more than half of the 14.1 million people currently do identified as disabled in the UK have hidden disabilities, including conditions such as ADHD, learning difficulties, hearing loss or neurological like multiple sclerosis. HIV, lupus, cancer or diabetes, and mental health issues like anxiety, depression or schizophrenia, these are great examples of hidden disabilities.
Raising awareness so the challenges faced around sex and relationships.
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding around this subject, yet I find it’s one of the most common questions I’m asked ‘can you still have sex’ easy answer yes. Many of us are in relationships or married, some even play the field – Just because we are disabled doesn’t mean we don’t have a healthy sex drive or want to be in a relationship and start a family – we are not undesirables, we can live in happy healthy relationships with non-disabled or disabled People. Crazy thought I know!
Language is also important “Disabled people or people with disabilities” – make sure you identify first language.
“Disable people” Some people believe this defines people by what their condition or impairment is. Others say that it emphasises that people are disabled by society, rather than their condition.
“People with disabilities“ For some, puts the emphasis in the ‘person’ is empowering. Others see this as reducing the importance of someone’s condition or impairment.
It’s up to the individual on how they choose to refer to themselves, everyone will feel differently about these language choices, and that’s okay.
It’s very important we educate the next generation – understanding disability history, and what life is like for disabled people today, helps us to create a better future. Some disabled people will have been born with a disability, others may have become disabled through their life. Whatever the situation having that understanding is key.
Remember knowledge is power.
Until next time. Tell me what you think?
Come give me a follow and say hi.